The Camera I: Photographic Self-Portraits from the Audrey and Sidney Irmas Collection

The Camera I: Photographic Self-Portraits from the Audrey and Sidney Irmas Collection

by Robert A. Sobieszek

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Trendy sophistication of title, design and interpretation mark this startling catalogue of a traveling exhibition of an unusual photographic art form. ``Self-portraiture is ultimately a confrontation with the self's mortality,'' writes Sobieszek, curator of photography at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The 149 images span photography's history and crown a 15-year effort by collectors Audrey and Sydney Irmas, here chronicled by their daughter Deborah. Offerings encompass Nadar and Roger Fenton posing as exotic travelers, Stieglitz and Steichen going for mood, Andr Kertsz intermingling with female nudes and Diane Arbus appearing seminude and pregnant in a shot she took to show her husband overseas that she was pregnant. Altogether a visual treat, which includes a picture checklist with brief biographies. (Nov.)
Zom Zoms
"[T]he outer man is a picture of the inner, and the face an expression and revelation of the whole character." Arthur Schopenhauer jotted this down sometime in 1850, and after spending some time with these photographic self-portraits, "one will be well able to appreciate his words. Gathered from the private collection of Audrey and Sydney Irmas, these photographs come across as short stories, sometimes even as poems, each of them a reflection of an individual, a document of a space in time that was fully realized, wholly lived. Some are straight and formal, like Edward Curtis' 1899 photo, which reminds us of the dignity with which he documented Native Americans. Edward Steichen's shows him holding a paint brush in a self-portrait that looks almost as if it were painted. Otto Umbehr's 1930 shot shows the shadow of his camera falling over his own face, looking very contemporary in sunglasses--and in expression. Diane Arbus captured herself in underwear only in a photo so subtle it's almost forgettable--except for the slight tummy pushing at her navel; in Deborah Irmas' opening comments, we read that this image was sent to Arbus' husband to announce her pregnancy. Cecil Beaton is Cecil Beaton, looking dapper with slight grin and props galore. One of the most poetic photos is Lou Stoumen's 1935 shot of his bare feet standing next to his exhausted shoes, as if the shoes have had enough. An intriguing collection that, peeked at, piques interest, and if long indulged in, satisfies in volume.

Product Details

Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
9.16(w) x 12.08(h) x 0.97(d)

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >